Tokyo Olympics: How to watch the 2021 Games, the opening ceremony and competition guide in full


After being pushed back by a year due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the planet’s largest sporting event, the Olympics, is finally here. 

The Tokyo Games officially got underway on Wednesday, with the football and softball opening rounds getting started, as Team GB’s women’s football team claimed a highly encouraging 2-0 win over Chile.  

The Opening Ceremony doesn’t take place until Friday, however, in an event that truly marks the beginning of the Games. 

However, similarly to the rest of the competition, it will be a highly unusual event, with fans from both Japan and abroad prohibited, with Tokyo under a fourth state of emergency as coronavirus cases continue to rise.  

Remarkably, head of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee Toshiro Muto only on Tuesday admitted the Games could yet be cancelled, though they are still going ahead as things stand. 

With that in mind, Sportsmail takes you through the essential details below.  

The Olympics officially got underway on Wednesday, with the Opening Ceremony on Friday

The Olympics officially got underway on Wednesday, with the Opening Ceremony on Friday

When is the Olympics? 

The Olympics – which is still named ‘Tokyo 2020’ – technically got underway on Wednesday, July 21, as the softball and football opening rounds began.  

The Games come to an end on Sunday, August 8, which is when the closing ceremony takes place. 

Meanwhile, the Paralympics Games will run from August 24 to September 5. 

When is the Opening Ceremony? 

The opening ceremony won’t be held until Friday, July 23, before a jam-packed two-week schedule commences. 

The ceremony – which will be held in a behind closed doors Olympic Stadium – will get started at 12pm BST and will run until 3pm. 

With coronavirus cases continuing to rise among athletes in the Olympic Village, the large proportion of Team GB stars have opted against attending, with only around 30 set to participate.  

Officials had hoped around 50 athletes would take part, which would still represent a fraction of the usual 200 in pre-pandemic times. 

The ceremony will be available to watch on BBC One and Eurosport, with viewers able to watch both via their streaming services.   

What time will the Olympics be on in the UK? 

Unfortunately for Olympics fans in the UK, Tokyo is eight hours ahead, meaning much of the action will be played overnight and in the early mornings. 

The large proportion of events will be held between midnight and 3pm UK time.  

How to watch the Olympics

Team GB got their Olympics campaign underway on Wednesday as the women's football team beat Chile 2-0

Team GB got their Olympics campaign underway on Wednesday as the women’s football team beat Chile 2-0

There are two rights-holders for the Olympic action this summer in the UK, being the BBC and Eurosport. 

The BBC are set to broadcast over 350 hours of action throughout the Games, with their coverage starting at midnight every night and ending at 9pm. 

Viewers who have a valid TV license will be able to stream the action via the BBC’s iPlayer. 

They will also have radio coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live from 1am to 9am and 11am to 2pm each day, with the shows available for catch-up on BBC Sounds. 

Eurosport – which costs £6.99 a month for a subscription – are set to broadcast 445 hours of action throughout the Games across their two channels. 

Live coverage will be followed by wall-to-wall repeats, while their programme ‘Tokyo Today’ will show daily highlights following the conclusion of the day’s action. 

Who will present BBC’s coverage? 

It will be JJ Chalmers who gets the action underway each night from midnight to 5am. Chalmers will be followed by Dan Walker and Sam Quek, who will co-host a ‘special edition’ of BBC breakfast from 5am to 9am.   

Hazel Irvine and Gabby Logan will then take over from 9am until 3pm, with Jason Mohammad following them from 3pm to 6pm. 

Finally, Clare Balding and Alex Scott will conclude the day’s coverage from 7.30pm until 9pm. 

There will also be a highlights show on BBC Two from 9-10pm.   

What are the new sports at Tokyo?

Skateboarding is one of five new sporting disciplines at this summer's Tokyo Olympic Games

Skateboarding is one of five new sporting disciplines at this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games

The 2020 Summer Olympics will feature five new sports: Skateboarding, Karate, Baseball/Softball, Surfing and Sports Climbing.

The sports were approved with a unanimous vote of 90 IOC members. The additions will bring 470 more athletes to the Games, as well as 18 new events. 

The initial motivation behind the new sports’ introduction was to ‘take sport to the youth’. 

Tokyo Olympics schedule

Team GB finished second at Rio 2016 as they accumulated 27 gold medals, and they'll be looking for another successful tournament this summer.

Team GB finished second at Rio 2016 as they accumulated 27 gold medals, and they’ll be looking for another successful tournament this summer. 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will feature 339 events in 33 different sports, held across 43 competition venues. 

  • Archery: July 23-31
  • Artistic Gymnastics: July 24 – August 3
  • Artistic Swimming: August 2-7
  • Athletics: July 30 – August 8
  • Badminton: July 24 – August 2
  • Baseball: July 28 – August 7
  • 3×3 basketball: July 24-28
  • Basketball: July 25 – August 8
  • Beach Volleyball: July 24 – August 7
  • Boxing: July 24 – August 8
  • Canoe slalom: July 25-30
  • Canoe Sprint: August 2-7
  • Cycling (BMX Freestyle): July 31 – August 1
  • Cycling (BMX Racing): July 29 – 30
  • Cycling (Mountain biking): July 26 – 27
  • Cycling (Road Racing): July 24-25; July 28
  • Cycling (Track): August 2-8
  • Diving: July 25 – August 7
  • Equestrian: July 24 – August 7
  • Fencing: July 24 – August 1
  • Football: July 21 – August 7
  • Golf: July 29 – August 1; August 4-7
  • Handball: July 24 – August 8
  • Hockey: July 24 – August 6
  • Judo: July 24-31
  • Karate: August 5-7
  • Marathon Swimming: August 4-5
  • Modern Pentathlon: August 5-7
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics: August 6-8
  • Rowing: July 23-30
  • Rugby: July 26-31
  • Sailing: July 25 – August 4
  • Shooting: July 24 – August 2
  • Swimming: July 24 – August 1
  • Skateboarding: July 25-26; August 4-5
  • Sport Climbing: August 3-6
  • Softball: July 21-27
  • Surfing: July 25 – August 1
  • Table Tennis: July 24 – August 6
  • Taekwondo: July 24-27
  • Tennis: July 24 – August 1
  • Trampoline Gymnastics: July 30-31
  • Triathlon: July 26-27; July 31
  • Volleyball: July 24 – August 8
  • Water Polo: July 24 – August 8
  • Weightlifting: July 24 – August 4
  • Wrestling: August 1-7

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